ACPS is in the process of reviewing the building at 1701 N. Beauregard Street as the possible site of a new elementary school.
The plan currently under review is to purchase and retrofit the building, while making minimal upgrades to the outside of the building. The inside of the building would see substantial change to convert it into space suitable for elementary students. The purchase would include the parking garage adjacent to the building. There is a possibility that a portion of the garage would be converted into outdoor play space for students at the school.
This kind of retrofit has been utilized in school divisions across the country including the highly successful urban school at Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences. ACPS staff is confident that this model is an efficient and effective way to create new learning spaces and resolve some capacity issues. The anticipated cost of purchasing the land and retrofitting the building will be significantly lower than leasing or purchasing land and constructing a new school.
ACPS is still exploring all options for this site and is in the process of conducting a review that ends at the end of September. The City will be informed of and included in all discussions. Any final decision regarding the property will be made by the School Board.
Any new school would help ease ACPS capacity issues. Programming of the school is still under review, however, ACPS anticipates the site could add approximately 650 seats for elementary school students. This school year marks the first year that the ACPS student population has exceeded the seats available according to the Long Range Plan specifications for optimal learning environments.
Division-wide capacity based on the Long Range Plan currently has approximately 1,200 seats fewer than projected 2016-17 student enrollment. This seating deficit is projected to increase further in the next five years. By FY 2026, ACPS is projected to have approximately 20,000 students, up from 15,220 today.
ACPS is committed to being good neighbors and will work with the community to build trust through a two-way dialogue during this review process. We will be hosting a meeting in the future to answer questions and discuss the potential purchase with neighbors.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is ACPS potentially buying a building instead of leasing? We originally anticipated finding lease space suitable for the new school. However, this building presented an opportunity that was well worth exploring further.
When will it be open? The goal would be to have the school open by September 2017.
How many students will it accommodate? The goal is to have between approximately 650 seats at the school.
Will this also be the site for pre-K? Possibly. The programming of the building has not been determined. This is still being assessed.
When will we know that this is definitely the site for the new school? The proposal goes to the School Board in September. They will make the final decision.
How long is the review period? 60 days. We have to make a decision by the end of September 2016.
Will this affect redistricting? Yes. It will solve some of the capacity issues the West End is facing. Our redistricting consultant is aware of this site as a potential future location for a new West End School.
Does it affect the redistricting timeline? At this point, no.